Why a CMS for CRM when Microsoft gives us one for free?

Sep 25, 2011 at 2:25 AM

I am just wondering why someone would want to use this product when Microsoft publishes a portal framework with a CMS for CRM 4 and CRM 2011 for free as part of their SDK.  Can you provide some information as to what this product will do for developers that isn't covered in the SDK?

Sep 26, 2011 at 7:18 AM
Edited Sep 26, 2011 at 9:46 AM


The sdk is heavy to drive, if you have already done some serious programming under MS CRM 4 (or 3) you will understand what I mean.
Just an easy sample, you have certainly noticed that if you want to have you code independant of any customisation, you need to work with dynamic entities, the crm wrapper inside Addon Nice does this directly for you, on your side you keep working with C# classes...
Addon Nice kernel is doing more sophisticated work for you: maintaining an object cache of your recent requested entities occurences (based on server, code version and metadata versions ->faster!), automatically managing backup of your customizations before applying a change, helping you to display CRM data in browsers different from IE (!!!),
Moreover Addon Nice is not a sdk, it brings real functions in its base 'server only version' and through its packages.


Base version:

- Internal engines to manage: 
      - API indpendance between 3 and 4 CRM versions (for common features, V4 new featured having no easy corresponding way are not supported, each module is marked with a version compatibility indicator),
      - Several internet portals with many parameters and themes, several CRM servers, n-p relationship, 
      - Help Manager,
      - Automatic themes adaptation for each page when it is used inside a CRM IFrame or in addon nice 'CRM external' web site,
      - Automatic security propagation using CRM roles to your ASP.NET pages (and their modules components)
      - Globalisation of text attributes in entities (editor for each language+display page),
      - External logins/registration from internet users mapped to lead/contact/account according your needs (could generate a CRM task on each new registration, send welcome CRM email), manage all the lost/change password features, etc.,
      - A solid tracing engine which uses native .NET trace features (trace listeners, trace switch) to allow debuging, all traces being in a dedicated folder with incremented trace files names each day, possibility to do sql traces storage,
      - A easy extension of ASP.NET to allow including labels from Addon Nice language dependant string resources assemblies,
      - Advanced features for the web sites managed by Addon Nice (url rewritter, themes, css compression in one file, SSL folder based security via an internal url builder taking care to propagate parameters sent by CRM iFrames, etc.)
- Some nice tools:
       - A grid able to display any entities values -> nice to debug anything that CRM doesn't display, 
       - Dropdown lists based on Ajax that allow to select an entity amongst millions of values (no necessity to load all entities values in your dropdown....which you would be unable to do when number became too high)
       - Some 'magic' lookup features that allow using fetchXML or queries to build your lists, with cascading features
       - A class generator
- Faster user input for many entities without the necessity of IE (leads, contacts, accounts,orders,incidents),
- A very fast way of associating aspx pages to iFrame in CRM entitie's forms: you build your page in Addon Nice using its modules and setting each module/page/Site parameters, you select your entity, the tab and the section where you want to place your iFrame and Addon Nice do the job for you (export the entity, backup your customizations, update the entity xml code inserting the iFrame,import the entity), 
- An extended documents managements where you may manage documents versions for each language and offer easy download to internet users of documents inside CRM, management of external CRM documents (kind of sharepoint feature without the need of SharePoint....)
- An extended Announcement management (Globalisation + External CRM announcement mixed with CRM ones)
- The classic hierachical views for accounts/contacts
- A powerful CRM copy bewteen CRM servers based on the metadata and even managing servers with different version (3 or 4 for source),
- A rating engine with 3 custom entities and 2 display modes (grid or line) allowing to easily add rating to any page an have the results collected as campaign responses (many parameters),
- Manages versioning for its modules and packages (feature only introduced in CRM 2011 and not very efficiently....),
- Manage licenses with a license generator and license checking, demo license mode, but this feature could be removed in next releases (the actual licenses in source code are permanent and eternal licenses and they allow using the proiduct freely to every body, choice is either we keep the license check and open a new codeplex for the license generator, either we remove the corresponding classes from the source code, see the assembly ADNCRM.ServerControls)

Imagine CRM package

- Adds a custom entity to CRM allowing the addition of dynamically managed images to each visual entity occurence (contacts, SystemUsers, accounts, products, any custom entity, etc....)
- Manages a central repository of images segmented in libraries,
- Stores images in Addon Nice Database for easy backup AND on a server folder for speed
... see codeplex corresponding project

ECommerce package

- Adds a full E-Commerce site to CRM, multi-currencies, multi-languages, multi payment gateways,
- Intranet or internet usage through internet user registering and creation of corresponding contacts (or accounts)
- Adds new custom entities and extends many CRM entities:
     - Uses the Imagine CRM package to bring images to CRM products
     - Allow managing options for products (example: color red/blue/green, etc)
     - Relates each order with corresponding payment entity,
     - Manages payment gateways in CRM (easy to extend using inherence),
     - Adds a tax management feature for orders,
     - Uses CRM currencies, Units and Price level/Details
- Automatically generates orders and generate task on new orders introducing new workflow opportunities
... see codeplex corresponding project

There are also the XRM Emailing package and the Lead Prospector packages, just have a look on the corresponding codeplex projects.
Some features of Addon Nice could be similar to MS CRM accelerators, but accelerators doesn't benefit from the facilities in the kernel of Addon Nice and they could be very superficial compared to Addon Nice features.
(try to work with accelerators on huge CRM data environments....)

Hope this little explanation will help everybody understand what is Addon Nice....many people have worked on it, more than 10 man x years, but I had to stop Addon Nice Technologies (and previuosly WireTeam) due to lack of budget....so I decided to put all this work on codeplex and see if some community is interested in more than 1 200 000 lines of code.

Best regards